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Weekly report - calendar week 04/2023

Case numbers increased over the past week, with the 7-day incidence at 229.8/100,000 population as of Jan. 31, 2023, in Austria (previous week 161.5/100,000 population).

After an upward trend since mid-November, a decrease in new cases was observed from the end of December. For the past two weeks, the number of COVID-19 cases has been increasing again, although there are still fewer tests performed than before Christmas 2022.

Since the beginning of January, the number of cases in normal wards has decreased again and has now reached a plateau. The last time hospitalizations (normal wards and intensive care units together) were as low as they currently are was in June 2022. As of Jan. 31, 2023, there are 594 patients:in a normal care unit. In ICUs, COVID-19 bed occupancy remains stable at a low level, with 39 occupied ICU beds as of 01/31/2023.

China's departure from its zero-covid policy in early December is not expected to have further impacted the situation in Europe. No new variants have entered Europe from China so far.

Laboratory-confirmed cases since 24/12/2022

7-day incidence per 100,000 p.e. since 24/12/2022

Effective reproduction number since 24/12/2022

Every week, we publish the estimated effective reproduction number (Reff) for Austria and by province, as well as the estimated rate of increase, the so-called epidemiological parameters.

Austria-wide surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 variants

As part of the sentinel variant surveillance system, SARS-CoV-2 positive samples are subjected to whole genome sequencing. Samples are selected on a random basis. The aim of this surveillance system is to detect the emergence of new SARS-CoV-2 variants with reliable accuracy.


The Omikron variant BA.5* has been dominant in Austria since week 23 (2022). The share of BA.5* cases is decreasing. At the beginning of November, the share was still over 95%; in week03, it was only about 60%. The majority of BA.5* cases are due to BA.5* sublines BQ.1*. BA.5* lines with a mutation at the S:R346T site, such as BF.7*, now account for only 8% of the total number of cases.

A significant increase can be seen in XBB* cases. Over 13% of all cases are caused by this recombinant, with XBB.1.5* accounting for a large proportion of these cases. A further rapid increase is expected (ECDC).

BA.2* cases, on the other hand, are increasing, but at a much lower rate in week 03 than in the previous week. The increase is driven by the increase of BA.2.75* sublines, which are currently detected in about a quarter of all cases. Within BA.2.75*, the largest proportion is in those sublines that also carry a mutation at position S:R346T, such as CH.1.1* and BN.1*, but CJ.1* is also circulating across the board in the single-digit percentage range. CJ.1*, like XBB.1.5*, carries a mutation at site 468P.

Globally, BA.5* (including BQ.1*) remains dominant in KW 01 with a 68.1% share. BA.2* accounts for 16% of the sequences, with BA.2.75* accounting for the largest share. BA.4* falls to 0.4%. Recombinants such as XBB* have a share of 10.1 %.

Percentage variant distribution of the successfully sequenced samples

Mutations repeatedly cause a line to split into several slightly different lines, these are called sublines. They are often given their own names and numbers, which means that the relationships are not always obvious (as for example in the case of subline BQ.1, which belongs to BA.5*, see legend).


* = variant including associated sublines

BQ.1= BA.5 + S:K444T, S:N460K

BQ.1.1 = BQ.1 + S:R346T

BA.2.75 = BA.2 + S:K147E, S:W152R, S:F157L, S:I210V, S:G257S, S:G339H, S:G446S, S:N460K, S:R493Q

BA.2.75.3 = BA.2.75 + mutations outside the S protein.

CH.1.1= BA.2.75 + S:L452R, S:R346T, S:K444T, S:F486S

CJ.1= BA.2.75.3 + S:S468P

BN.1= BA.2.75 + S:R346T, S:F490S

XBB = recombinant of BA.2.10.1 + BA.2.75

XBB.1.5 = XBB + S:G252V, S:F486P

Sequenced cases by calendar week

Specialized information

Technical information, recommendations for action, and general information materials on coronavirus can be found on the Ministry of Health website.

Product information (technical and instructions for use) on COVID-19 vaccines can be found at the Federal Office for Safety in Health Care (BASG).

Details on the national and international situation can be found in the regular reports of GECKO - Overall National COVID Crisis Coordination.

The current risk assessment for COVID-19 in Austria by province is conducted by the Corona Commission and updated weekly. Corona traffic light

All vaccination recommendations for Austria can be found on the website of the National Vaccination Panel, like further information on vaccination on the vaccination dashboard

Last updated: 31.01.2023

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